When I get to the church of Santo Domingo I go and see the chicken, and then I rush outside to the man at the desk and say “Oh my god the chicken is dead!” He stands up, looks at me for a moment and says slowly “no, no it's not dead-” but then it takes him a few moments to realise I'm joking. I thought it was pretty funny but he didn't. I'm really surprised that more people don't do this! The temptation was too great for me.
Today the rain in Spain fell mainly on Charlie Pepper. It was mostly gentle drizzle, but towards the end of the day a huge grey splodge appeared on the sky and loud growls of thunder rumbled across the plains of Asturias. It was great to watch, but kept moving closer, so I rushed along to the next town with bright spindles of lightening close on my tail. Whatever you do, don't stay in Tardajos. This is possibly the worst albergue on the Camino. Not only do they not have hot water, they don't have any water at all. When they do turn the water on (for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening) the entire building shakes and makes a horrible noise because the pipes don't work properly. The good news is Rabe de las Calzadas is only 2km further on, and there is a beautiful little albergue here.
I have been learning Spanish via graffiti; Ti Amo means I love you, and Te Quiero means I want you, both are plastered across walls in hot pink bubbly letters. I also learn “poquita poquita” from the Spaniards that sail past me as I snail along with my blister, “picolo picolo” from the Italians and “petit à petit” from the French – all of which mean little by little. I also get “hola caracola” or hello snail from some Spaniards. I have decided that learning a new language is like retraining your mind. I sort of need to become like a child again, and have no understanding of the world – and then try to use the words of my new language as tools to understand where I am and what I am doing. Some people, when they learn a language, translate it into their first language as they go. So the steps are: Spanish to English to Brain. A native speaker only has one step; Spanish to Brain. So, to have a really good grasp of a language I am learning I logically need to skip the part where I translate everything in to English. If I take an extra step every time I read, hear (receptive) or construct (productive) a sentence then the culture of the language is lost. It's lost in translation, because the finite part of ideas are culture specific and therefore language specific. Wow, this is such a nerdy realisation. Let's get back to landscapes.
It's great to be able to devour the world like this in great hunks of countryside, doused with gleaming flora and served with a hearty side of locals. Crazy locals, generally. Oops, I'd love to talk more but there are two key words tearing me away; “Italians” and “pasta” ttfn, my dinner is served!